Interview by: Sydney Vollmer, ARB Intern
SV: What is your position within the company, and what does that entail?
JD: My position is Artistic Associate. It is a bit of an umbrella term. I am a member of the acting ensemble, and I direct two to three plays each season. I also serve as the resident text coach for the company, and head up a couple of our educational programs. I handle auditions and various other odds and ends.
SV: Why are you passionate about sharing Shakespeare and other traditional works with your community?
JD: It may seem obvious, but what makes me passionate about Shakespeare is the language. He used language in a way that very few others have even been able to come close to, and it makes me excited to be able to share that. I also love breaking down preconceptions about Shakespeare. People have this idea about Shakespeare as erudite, arcane and even elitist, when nothing could be farther from the truth. This was populist entertainment, and while nobles and royalty absolutely attended, they were sort of slumming it when they did. The vast majority of the audience was commoners, the largely illiterate masses. And for theses plays to be financial successes, they needed to be accessible and enjoyable to those masses. The plays are raucous, and exciting and fun, sometimes bawdy, sometimes exquisitely beautiful. I like the idea of showing people that these aren’t museum pieces meant to be held at arm’s length, but something to be felt viscerally. And if done right, something that they’re not going to have any problem understanding.
SV: What impact has hosting free Shakespeare in the Park events had on your company and the community as a whole? Will you continue doing this for the foreseeable future?
JD: We’ve had a tremendous response to the Shakespeare in the Park. We see over 10,000 people at those shows. And we have people coming that have not only never seen Shakespeare before, but some who have never seen live theatre before. I always love seeing all the little kids running around at those shows- sometimes they’re chasing squirrels, but then sometimes they’ll sit in rapt attention. It’s pretty great. It’s a wonderful and fun service to be able to provide for our community.
SV: Your company works on the ensemble format. How do you go about casting for each season and then individual production?
JD: We hold annual season auditions in January. We’ll have people come in from all over the country to audition to become a part of the ensemble, the touring company or to be guest artists. As we pick titles for the upcoming season, we will usually have some idea of actors we’re considering in the key roles, or sometimes company members may come to us with roles they’re particularly interested in. We fill in the rest from the ensemble, and then, if needed, bring in guest artists to fill any remaining slots.
SV: Once a show has been cast, what does it take to produce from start to finish?
JD: We start a process several months out, talking with directors and designers about production concepts- what the world of the play will look like. If it’s a Shakespeare, will it be a traditional Elizabethan setting, or something else. About two months before rehearsals commence, we’ll begin having weekly production meetings. Designers will share their research, and we’ll start solidifying how the concept will manifest- set designs, costume designs, etc. By the time rehearsals begin, all the design elements should be more or less finalized- there is always room for modifications based on things that may come up during rehearsal. Our rehearsal process is generally three and a half weeks from first read until opening night. We’ll start around the table with text work, then get up on our feet to the block the show, including any fights, dancing or other elements. We do our scene work, and then head into tech, where we add lights, costume, sound, etc. Tech is generally a four day process, and then it’s time for an audience.
SV: Project 38 seems to be quite large and successful. How have you seen this program grow from its conception, and how has it impacted the participating members?
JD: PROJECT38 has been a tremendous experience- this is only our second year doing it, and we’ve had nearly double the amount of schools applying to participate as we did the first year. We’ve had mazing testimonials from both teachers and students on the impact the program has had. Some have found an interest in and love for Shakespeare that they never knew they had. Some have found friends and kindred spirits from other schools that they otherwise would never have met, and through social media and other formats, a lovely little community is forming. It’s also been great for these students to get to see what sorts of projects other groups of students are doing. It’s shown them possibilities and sparked ideas, the fruits of which we will hopefully see at future P38 festivals.
SV: Unveiling plans for a new building is huge! What else, if anything, will you be doing this year to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death?
JD: The new building is indeed huge, and has been occupying most of our attention and energies. So we hope to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death by doing what we always do- speaking his wonderful words, and putting up productions of his plays of which we hope he would be proud; though admittedly, he would probably be pretty distracted by the electric lights and indoor plumbing.
Artistic Associate, Sixteenth Season) is originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He holds degrees from the University of Evansville and Ohio State University, has worked for several theaters across the country, and has appeared in a number of independent films. Some favorite CSC projects include The Comedy of Errors (Dromio), Private Lives (Elyot), The Hound of the Baskervilles (Sherlock Holmes), Of Mice and Men (George), Titus Andronicus (Director), A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Director), and Every Christmas Story Ever Told (Director). In addition to being an Artistic Associate, Jeremy is the director of the CSC Groundlings program and CSC Summer Camp. He would like to thank his family for their unwavering enthusiasm and Kelly for her love and inspiration. (Copied from: http://cincyshakes.com/speakers/jeremy-dubin/)